Danny Rose: Thank you Portsmouth for the ultimate time of my career
The ‘ultimate’ time of Danny Rose’s football career has concluded.
There was an inevitability, granted, while the party line centring on departure by mutual consent is, in this instance, entirely sincere.
An amicable break-up – a scarcity amid a notoriously-brutal business.
Nonetheless, for Rose there remains a Fratton Park affinity which cannot be severed, an indelible association to never fade.
Swindon now serves as the opportunity to reignite a career stalled following injury and then grounded by team evolution.
Yet it was Pompey which presented the likeable midfielder with the favourite of five promotions dominating an impressive CV.
And it constructed a bond with supporters that Rose will forever cherish.
He told The News: ‘Pompey has been the ultimate.
‘I look back upon the job I was tasked in terms of getting the club out of League Two and back on track. I achieved that.
‘I’ve won five promotions and Pompey was definitely the favourite. That was the one where the team were under the most pressure to deliver. It was the biggest scale – and the celebrations were definitely the biggest scale!
‘In other promotions we absolutely battered the leagues and were crowned champions well in advance. That season here we had so many ups and downs, to end it the way we did made it that much sweeter.
‘They were unbelievable times. You really cannot put into words what happened against Cheltenham. It was a perfect moment, right up there with my best memories in football.
‘Since my departure was announced, the reaction from supporters has been incredible. There are too many individual Tweets to reply to, I’d be sat for hours typing “Thank you”.
‘When players leave, fans will always give their thanks for what you’ve done at the club, but the sheer amount I’ve had is staggering, it’s into the thousands.
‘My phone went absolutely crazy. Even now I’m still getting a few per day, which is unbelievable. I cannot thank them enough.
‘Every time I’ve taken to the field they’ve been supportive of how I’ve tried to play the game and how I’ve approached representing the club. Most fans pretty much respect any player who gives their all, no matter what.
‘It makes you immensely proud and humble at the same time. You feel you’ve achieved something, which is what I set out to do. When I joined, the sole aim was to get promotion, otherwise it would have been a failure.
‘To know the club I leave is in a better place than when I signed is wonderful to look back on. I believe I did the job required.’
Rose was Pompey’s first recruit in the summer of 2016 as Paul Cook set about reinvigorating his devastated team.
A League Two semi-final play-off defeat to Plymouth had denied promotion in the former Chesterfield boss’ maiden campaign.
Rose, who appeared in Oxford United and Northampton sides which both went up during that same season, was identified as a crucial signing. Cook was right.
Following promotion to League One and Kenny Jackett’s arrival, Rose swiftly fell out of favour.
Then, having re-established himself during an outstanding run of form, Northampton’s John-Joe O’Toole’s challenge during a drop ball broke the midfielder’s left leg.
Following that December 2017 incident, Rose would play just 24 more minutes of League One football for Pompey.
The 30-year-old added: ‘I was probably playing my best football for Pompey at the time.
‘I was fit, felt strong, results were going our way and we were climbing the table. We were sixth when I got that injury – and I was in a good vein of form.
‘It’s unlucky. I’m sure it will happen again to someone, which will be unfortunate. You have to get on with it, though, which I did.
‘Maybe, looking back, you think “What if?”. Would we have ended up sneaking into the play-offs that season with me fit? Maybe.
‘Perhaps the recruitment would have been different if I hadn't got the injury. Even now the manager is looking at recruitment in a different way simply because of a couple of poor results and poor performances.
‘If I hadn't got injured, we may have signed someone else to alter the whole dynamic of the squad.
‘I look back and think what could have been, but it’s an experience with long-term injury which has hardened my mental state. You know you can overcome anything.
‘Even though, in a way, my Pompey career was cut short because of injury, I’m certainly happy with what I achieved there.
‘I should have played more, really – and would have had it not been for the injury.’
This month came the inevitable separation.
Bristol Rovers, Shrewsbury, Cheltenham and Newport all registered an interest, yet Swindon and Crawley pursued him the strongest.
Rose opted for the County Ground, reuniting with former Blues title-winning team-mate Noel Hunt, now assistant manager to Richie Wellens.
The deal spans until the season’s end, with the club possessing a 12-month option, allowing the former Oxford man to commute from his Denmead home.
Rose also plans to continue his Wednesday evening coaching sessions with Pompey’s under-14s, should diary permit.
He said: ‘It got to the point where I was just training. You can only get so fit from training, everyone knows you need matches to reach the next level of fitness.
‘This season I pretty much averaged one game every month. I lost my sanity a little bit, I had to go out and play competitive football – and obviously that meant leaving Pompey.
‘I could have stayed and not played much football, I might have ended up getting in the team, who knows. That’s a risk.
‘Potentially I could then reach 18 months with hardly any football, which doesn’t put me in a good position for my next club.
‘I am at Swindon now, giving myself the chance to earn a contract beyond the end of the season, I knew that’s what I had to do.
‘In the last transfer window I could have gone to Crawley, but that happened pretty late. I didn’t really feel I had enough time to digest it all and decide what to do at that time.
‘The right thing to do was stay and give myself the opportunity to play for Pompey, because that’s what I wanted to do, ultimately.
‘With our team, if there were inconsistent performances and results not so great, no doubt the manager would have made some kind of change and I could have had an opportunity, as happened last year.
‘That’s what I was fully prepared for, but the opportunity wasn’t there and resulted in having to move on. I had to earn myself a contract beyond this season – and wouldn’t have done if I had stayed at Fratton Park.
‘Myself and the manager spoke relatively often about my situation and the best way to move forward. Around mid-December, we both agreed I could explore other avenues.
‘Swindon was the one which jumped off the page at me.
‘I’m there until the end of the season for now, but it gives me an opportunity to be involved around the squad, playing, and hopefully to earn a contract beyond this season.
‘That feeling around the match-day squad, knowing you’ll be involved, makes a massive difference. Even day-to-day, you know there’s a carrot at the end of the week.
‘I’ve no regrets about leaving, I did everything I could to get into Kenny Jackett's team, but it wasn’t to be.
‘Players move on, managers move on – leaving Pompey was the right thing for me.’